Banks break at Old Woperana
In the 13 years Mark and Maryanne Ryan have lived at Old Woperana near Tocumwal, they’ve never seen a flood their levees could not hold . . . until now.
After checking all their protection measures on Sunday, the banks broke overnight causing ‘‘thousands of megalitres’’ to surge onto their property.
‘‘The water is lapping at our back verandah,’’ Mrs Ryan said yesterday.
‘‘We went and checked the levees about 8pm (Sunday) and we were confident everything was going to be okay.
‘‘By daylight we realised the levee had broken.
‘‘The water is about a foot deep in the garage and three or four feet deep in the sheds.’’
The Ryans don’t just farm the property, it’s also a working farm and animal nursery open to tourists.
Mrs Ryan said all the animals on the property are safe, moved to higher ground in their sandhills or in the homestead garden, but that their cropping ventures have not been as lucky.
Like many of their neighbours, they’ve had crops completely submerged and destroyed.
The Ryans are copping inundation from every angle, with the Murray River across the road from their property pushing through a peak and the Native Dog Creek at the rear also rising rapidly.
‘‘It’s come up through various depressions from the river and the causeway, and it’s coming up from the creek.
‘‘We did a flyover (on Monday) and we could see the water was still rushing through the broken levees in some places and out of it at other points, so we think the flooding on our property will remain fairly steady until it stops coming in.
‘‘We have seen the water in the yard drop a little (from Monday to Tuesday) but we think it may be very slow to recede.’’
Mrs Ryan said the support from Berrigan Shire Council, emergency services and community members has been overwhelming.
She said the offers for help are gratefully accepted, but cannot be utilised until the water recedes and the damage can be assessed.
‘‘Community resilience is a wonderful thing, and I must say thank you to everyone,’’ she said.
‘‘We have been overwhelmed by support, offers to help, offers of accommodation, offers to clean up, offers of hay and animal agistment.
‘‘We should be okay for now, but we are marooned.’’
Mrs Ryan said one other message she wanted to strongly convey is for people to stay away from flooded areas.
‘‘We ask people not to try and come out for a look,’’ she said.
‘‘Please stay safe and don’t try to drive into the floodwaters. The height and speed of the water and the debris flowing through is unbelievable.’’
Old Woperana’s front gate is now in the middle of a lake.